Monday, December 1, 2008

Fresh Face: Rue Melo

photo from

Though she's no gum shoe (she started working with producer Bemd Bergdorf - who's worked with Tom Waits and Pink - in 2005), Rue Melo's music is raw enough to consider her a fresh face for the Latin Alternative music scene.

The Uruguayan/French urban pop princess writes and records her own music, sings in three languages (English, French, and Spanish), and even creates some of her own beats.

Rue performs with a band comprised of bassist Bryan Bush, drummer Idris al-Mutazz Tate, and guitarist Claudio Tomasello, and has hits including "Can't Deny" and "Check It" which was featured in the first episode of The Hills season 4.

She lists Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, Orishas, Alicia Keys, Biggie, and Lil Wayne as her influences and, although she is unique in her own right, she reminds me of a mix between Lumidee and Pink (In her early, "There You Go" days).

To find out more about Rue Melo and/or check out more tracks, visit her official MySpace page.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let Me Put You On: Choc Quib Town

If The Fugees, Immortal Technique and Yerba Buena merged to create one sound, the result would be Choc Quib Town.

Choc Quib Town (Chocó Quibdo Nuestro pueblo) is a Colombian Latin hip hop/funk group whose music invokes pride for their mother country but, more specifically, their place of birth: Chocó.

Chocó is a state in the Pacific Coastal region of Colombia, a place full of "flavor and open hearts, of tears and struggle and of people with the hope of survival." Chocó is also known for the plight of AfroColombians living in the area - a reoccurring theme in Choc Quib Town's music.

Aside from hip hop and funk, fans can find rumba and rural sounds that go along with their tight flow and high energy. I've found a lot of Latin hip-hop bands to sound pretty hokey and sub-par, but I could see Choc Quib Town finding mainstream success in the future.

The group just released their latest album, Oro, and will be playing a few shows in Colombia and Brazil.

To learn more about Choc Quib Town visit their official MySpace page.

Rockera Extrordinaire - Ceci Bastida

This is for you Andrew!

photo by B.C.

It's hard to stave off musical success when your resume includes lead vocalist and keyboardist for the legendary Latin Ska band Tijuana No! and back-up vocalist and keyboardist for Latin Alternative phenom Julieta Venegas, but now Tijuana native Ceci Bastida will come of musical age with the release of her debut solo album Veo La Marea, set to release in 2009.

I've listened to a lot of musicians over my 22 years of existence and I have to say - the girl's got a gift. She's funky, talented and rocks major musical swagger, but (for whatever reason) she is currently under the radar. Her sound is a blend of Julieta Venegas and The Ting Tings, but with an undeniable edge. My favorite track of hers is "Cuando Vuelvas a Caer." If you're looking for a new artist to brighten up your iPod or Zune, Ceci Bastida would be a great choice.

Ceci will be opening for Ozomatli December 14th at The Filmore in San Francisco and December 19th at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.

For more information check out her official MySpace page.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Monte Negro @ Roxy Theater

If you like your punk mixed with reggae, rock, new wave, and bilingual lyrics then you'll love the Los Angeles-based super group, Monte Negro.

The fantastic foursome released their album Cicatrix on August 5th and will be playing Hollywood's Roxy Theater with fellow Latin Alternative stars Pilar Diaz and Beatmo this Thursday, November 20th.

For more info on Monte Negro visit their MySpace page.

Cypress Hill's Eric Bobo To Release Debut Album

Eric Bobo, percussionist behind the iconic multi-platinum hip hop group (and first Latin hip hop group to go platinum) Cypress Hill, will release his debut solo album, Meeting of the Minds this Tuesday, November 18th. Bobo will also perform that night in Los Angeles for the Latin Rap Conference.

Eric Bobo (Born Eric Correa) is the son of Latin Jazz percussionist (and legend) Willie Bobo, and has worked with some of music's biggest names: Beastie Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, Smashing Pumpkins, Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park fame ), Rage Against the Machine, y mas.

Bobo has a chameleon-like ability to blend and incorporate different generes of music from hip hop to rock, jazz, and even metal. With an eclectic tracklisting and long list of collaborations, this album will truly be a Meeting of the Minds.

For more information on Eric Bobo visit his official MySpace page.

Meeting of the Minds Tracklisting:
1. M.O.T.M. ft. Tony Touch, Thurstin Howl III, Hurricane G. & Willie Bobo
2. Fiesta ft. Cultura Londres & Kemo The Blaxican
3. Apocalypse Now ft. B Real, Sick Jacken & Ill Bill
4. The Good, Bad & Ugly ft. The Hoodcats
5. Wake Up ft. Northern Alliance
6. Muevelo ft. Outthere, Minus P, and Unkwon
7. Mucho Calor ft. Sonidero Nacional
8. 4 Short Of 80 ft. Minus P
9. Ink On The Concrete ft. Enmicasa & Zed
10. Crawling ft. Death By Hollywood
11. Aqui Estoy ft. Andie
12. Bobo Meets Rhettmatic ft. DJ Rhettmatic (of the World Famous Beatjunkies)
13. Chicken Wing ft. The Demigodz
14. En Mi Barrio ft. Mellow Man Ace

Live performance

With Cypress Hill

Latin Alternative Rocks the Latin Grammy's

On Thursday night the entire Latin music community celebrated the 9th annual Latin Grammy's in Houston, Texas.

Highlites of the evening include:
* A performance by the night's multi-award-winning artist, Juanes (who named Soda Stereo's Gustavo Cerati as one of his inspirations - go Gustavo!) and John Legend (one of my favorites)

* Gloria Estefan being honored as Person of the Year

* Cafe Tacvba performing "Esta Vez"

* Julieta Venegas getting down to an accordion jam session while performing "El Presente" with the squeeze box backings of Norteno artist Michael Salgado, Veallenato artist Emiliano Zuleta, Tango artists Fernando Ortero and Hector del Curto, and Tejano star David Lee Garza

One thing is certain - Latin Alternative music was definitely represented in a positive (and award-winning) light. World - take notice!

Here is a list of the night's Latin Alternative winners:

Best Alternative Song - Cafe Tacvba "Volver a Comenzar"

Best Rock Song - Cafe Tacvba "Esta Vez"

Best Alternative Music Album - MTV Unplugged: Julieta Venegas

Best Rock Album by a Duo or Group w/ Vocal - Molotov Eternamiente

Best Rock Solo Vocal Album
- Andres Calamaro La Lengua Popular

Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group w/ Vocal - Belanova Fantasia Pop

Best Singer-Songwirter Album - Fito Paez - Rodolfo

Best Long Form Music Video - MTV Unplugged: Julieta Venegas

For a complete breakdown of the 2008 Latin Grammy's click here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's Rockin' the Charts?

According to one of the top music industry/radio publications, Radio and Records, here are some of the songs rockin' the Latin Alternative chart.

[Note: not all the songs on the chart are present and that's only because they weren't available on imeem]